Guide Training – Winter 2011
Yamnuska Mountain Adventures has highly skilled guides. But even the experts need current and relevant training to stay up to date on accepted practices so every year Yamnuska does six full days of staff training. We run three training days in the winter and three training days in the summer. So what type of training to Yam’s guides get?
Day 1 is typically a classroom day where we discuss policies, do customer service training, update our staff on the upcoming season and review best practices. This year we were very fortunate to have Parks Canada Mountain Risk Specialist and Avalanche Guru, Grant Statham discuss the new Parks Canada avalanche bulletins and other general avalanche training information. Grant is a recognized avalanche and risk management expert so having him come spend the day with our staff was invaluable. We also had local wellness expert Kristen Stuart do a session on health and wellness for guides. Mountain Guides are incredibly fit but work hard so it’s important that they properly fuel their bodies and maintain overall physical health in what is a physically demanding job. Keeping a group of guides fully engaged for a full day in the classroom is a challenge so we try to make it as interesting and relevant as possible.
On the second day we go outside! This year three of our senior guides staged field scenarios where we practiced crevasse rescue, cliff rescue and a multiple avalanche burial situation on our backcountry skis. Felix Camire from Backcountry Access did an in-depth operational review of the Tracker 2 avalanche transceiver. Yamnuska exclusively uses the Tracker 2 for our avalanche training given its ease of use and reliability. We did our session at Bow Summit so we got a couple of great turns in the fresh powder on our way back to the parking lot!
Our last day was on the ice. Again, senior guides ran various multi-pitch rescue scenarios where we reviewed and discussed best practices. Alberta Parks Public Safety Specialists Mike Kopang and Jeremy MacKenzie did a review of low angle ice evacuation procedures with a full overview of the equipment they use which we very much appreciated.
We all know mountain guides are technical climbing and skiing experts but we invest six days a year in their continuing professional development to keep current and make sure we remain focused on our customers. We are always focused on guest experience so even when we review technical skills, it’s from a client’s perspective. Training is an important part of any industry and at Yamnuska we think we have an excellent guide training program. Come see for yourself!